Thursday, Dec 07, 2023

India Hockey Team Coach Craig Fulton Says Players Trying To Discover A 'New Indian Way' For Success

India Hockey Team Coach Craig Fulton Says Players Trying To Discover A 'New Indian Way' For Success

While India are in a discovery phase, Fulton gave his predecessor, Graham Reid, credit for putting the team on the map with consistent performances.

Fulton hopes that the team can find its voice with a cutomised playing style that is its own.
Fulton hopes that the team can find its voice with a cutomised playing style that is its own. Twitter

The national men's hockey team is in a "discovery phase"  to find the "new Indian way" of doing things in a better way, chief coach Craig Fulton said on Friday. (More Hockey News)

The South African also said the appointment of compatriot and mental conditioning expert Paddy Upton will help the side find its voice rather than rely on instructions by others.  

"Paddy has been watching the team train in gym, taken individual sessions this week. He also addressed the team. He will help identify a new Indian way of how we can do things better than we have done them up till this point," Fulton told reporters.

Enquired about what this new Indian way is, Fulton, who replaced Australia Graham Reid, said "It's a discovery phase, we are on a real trajectory. The work previously done by Graham put the team on the map with consistent performance with one or two disappointments on the way." 

"Now we are trying to keep that trajectory, but then how do we improve what has already been done and that starts individually before it goes collectively."

However, Fulton wants the team to find its voice. 

"Paddy is not going to be the main voice in the team. We will help the team find its own voice. We don't want anyone standing and giving instruction and when the persons not there the team can't function."

India head to Europe later this month where they will play against England, Netherlands, and hosts Spain in the four-nation tournament followed by Asian Champions Trophy in Chennai.

These two events will serve as a preparatory tournament for the Hangzhou Asian Games where the champion side will automatically qualify for 2024 Paris Olympics.

"The ideal goal is always to win tournaments. The realistic goals is to see where you are ranked and how far away you are from the top teams. We are one of the top teams if not the top team.

"We don't want to go to the qualifying tournament when you have the perfect opportunity to qualify here. So everything is geared around for that."

The South African said the team is working on playing "fluid upfront".

"We want to get better the way we are trying to play fluid upfront but we are constantly working on our connections going forward to score goals. How we delay and defend to constantly attack.

For the five matches in Spain, Fulton has called up several players who were not part of the Pro League squad.

"I hadn't work with all the players in the pro league, so by picking them for this tour we get to look at the others players that are there. That way, we would have seen everyone. It will be a good exposure point to get back into competition."

Defender Harmanpreet Singh, who will lead the 24-member squad in Spain, said the team's young guns performing well augurs well for the side.

"It is great that the youngster who are coming into the squad are doing well. We all push ourselves to do well. It is great to have them within the squad. If they keep on doing well, it helps us, the seniors, to push ourselves more," Harmanpreet said.


Goalkepers: Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran. Krishan Bahadur Pathak

Defenders: Jarmanpreet Singh, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Manpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Sanjay

Midfielders: Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Shamsher Singh, Rajkumar Pal

Forwards: Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Mandeep Singh, Gurjant Singh, Sukhjeet Singh, Abhishek, Pawan, Dilpreet Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Karthi Selvam.